Milan bike show EICA kicks off 2011 tradeshow season

EICA provides runway for Italian manufacturers to strut their stuff

For years the EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori), also known as the Milan Bike and Motorcycle Show, has drawn in hundreds of thousands of visitors. The show also provides forum for Italian bicycle manufacturers to unveil their latest offerings. It was first born in 1914 actually as a bicycle show, but grew into a motorbike and bicycle show.

This year the show organizers thought of something different, and split the two shows – with the EICA dropping the “motor” portion and focusing just on the bicycles, it’s not the first time that EICA has been bike only, rather something organizers have gone back and forth on over the years.

The result was a small, but still impressive show held last weekend where Italian manufacturers such as De Rosa, Montante Cicli, Olmo and Colnago showed off new products while promoting those products “made in Italy”.

“Today it is very important to promote ‘made in Italy,’” Paolo Olmo of Olmo Bicycles told BikeRadar.  “I hope this trade show will develop into a must attend event.”

Much of the emphasis on the show is built around future hopes of incorporating EICA into the 2015 World Expo, which could result in a bicycle event that eclipses even large events such as Interbike or even Eurobike.

Another reason for separating bicycles from the old EICMA show was to push a “bicycle lifestyle,” Pierre Francesco, the Mobility Assessor for the City of Milan, told BikeRadar. “Bicycling is a way to rethink cities,” he said. “This is a way for urban centers to become smarter and more sustainable.”

This effort includes the bicycle usage into the future additions to the Milan subway plan, which is currently seeing the addition of a fourth and fifth line to complement the city’s current three lines. “Two more lines will be ready for the expo,” said Francesco. Additionally, the city is looking to increase the usage of bicycle sharing, “We currently have about 2,500 bikes that are for use in the center of the city, but we’d like to double the bike sharing and make it available to reach places where people live.”

Although a small show by the standards of Interbike, and certainly Eurobike, EICA’s 2011 (model year 2012) show offered a good showing of Italian companies, and a few head turning products, including the electronic Ultegra Di2 groupo from Shimano MIC — the Italian branch of the Japanese component manufacturer — and the new Colnago CF8 and CF9 bicycles that continue the partnership with high-end automobile manufacturer Ferrari. The new bikes feature Dura Ace Di2 electric shifting with the battery pack now located in the seat tube.

Saturday’s opening day of EICA was capped off with a Bike By Night, Milan: Cycling Under the Stars event that saw dozens of riders circle the historic city. Along the ride, participants rode along the last of the city’s old canals, passed through the colorful old neighborhoods and finished at the famous Castello Sforzesco, truly bridging the old Italy with the new “made in Italy” theme of the show.

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